In today’s comprehensive review, we are introducing to you for the very first time our website, ECS LIVA Q3 Plus, which proudly represents the third iteration of the esteemed LIVA Q series. This latest release showcases a notable leap forward in specifications, undoubtedly reflecting a more powerful and feature-rich device. However, it’s important to note that with these advancements also come slightly elevated costs, making it crucial for potential buyers to weigh their options carefully.
One of the standout features of the LIVA Q3 Plus is its employment of the cutting-edge AMD Ryzen R2314 processor, which harnesses the remarkable potential of the Raven Ridge architecture while incorporating the highly acclaimed Zen microarchitecture. This powerful quad-core CPU offers exceptional performance, particularly when coupled with Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) technology, allowing it to efficiently handle up to eight threads simultaneously. Moreover, the integration of a Vega 8-based Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) ensures smooth and visually stunning graphics rendering.
The system under review today is equipped with a generous 8 GB of DDR4 memory, ensuring ample space for multitasking and resource-intensive applications. Additionally, it boasts a sizeable 128 GB of eMMC storage, providing swift data access and a decent amount of space for essential files and software. It is worth noting, however, that the LIVA Q3 series offers multiple configurations with varying memory and storage capacities, catering to diverse user needs and preferences while accommodating different budget constraints. Let’s find out more in this in-depth review.
ECS LIVA Q3 Specs
|Model:||ECS LIVA Q3|
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen Embedded R2314
Clock Speed: 2.10 GHz
|Integrated Graphics:||AMD Vega 8|
|Memory:||8 GB @ 2400 MHz|
|Storage:||128GB eMMC flash|
|Audio:||AMD K17.1 Audio processor|
|Connectivity:||1x HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60 Hz & CEC function)
1x Mini DisplayPort 1.4
1x 1 GbE LAN
2x USB 3.2 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
|Communications:||Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac
1x Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit LAN
|Cooling:||Active cooling (heatsink/fan)|
As you move on to the sides of the box, you’ll notice that the first panel only has the LIVA branding, and the opposing panel is the same. These panels don’t reveal much about the product but serve as an indicator of the minimalist design philosophy that ECS has adopted.
When you open the box, you’ll be greeted by the ECS LIVA Q3, sitting neatly in the middle of the packaging. The majority of the included components are placed around or below it by cardboard pieces that create partitions to keep everything organized and tidy. The metal VESA mount is placed on top, likely providing extra protection for the unit during shipping.
Despite its minimalist design, the bundle that comes with the LIVA Q3 includes everything necessary to power up the system and mount it to the back of a TV. The bundle may be barebones, but it covers all the essentials needed to get started with the device. It’s also worth noting that the power plug design is innovative, allowing for easy swapping of the various plugs depending on the market.
One of the most impressive things about the LIVA Q3 is its size, which makes it incredibly portable and easy to use. It’s an excellent choice for those who need a powerful PC that can be carried with them wherever they go. Despite its small size, the LIVA Q3 packs a punch, making it a great option for those who need a computer for basic tasks like browsing the web, watching movies, and playing games.
Design and Appearance
The ECS LIVA Q3 Plus is a marvel of engineering, representing the pinnacle of mini PC technology. This tiny computer boasts a compact design that is sure to impress anyone who lays eyes on it. Measuring only 74 x 74 x 52.1 mm and weighing a mere 359 grams, this mini PC is one of the smallest on the market.
The LIVA Q3 Plus mini PC has undergone a subtle yet noticeable change in its design. Upon first glance, one can see the LIVA branding, boldly presented in white, emblazoned on a smooth black plastic top. The outer edging, which in previous models was orange and gray, now boasts an opulent golden hue. The bottom, on the other hand, retains its smooth black plastic finish, complete with a serial number and a Windows sticker. Additionally, one can easily spot the four screws that keep the chassis together and the two mounting holes for the VESA mounting plate.
In terms of its I/O, the LIVA Q3 Plus boasts a well-placed power button situated on the front-left of the mini PC. Directly beneath the power button, one can find three USB ports, two of which are USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Type A, and the other a standard USB 2.0 Type A. Shifting to the left, one can find an SD card slot that can hold up to 1 TB of data, providing ample storage space to users. This is especially beneficial considering the system’s default 64 GB of eMMC storage can be quite limiting. Notably, the LIVA Q3 Plus is actively cooled via a heatsink and fan, with additional ventilation slots enhancing the cooling process.
The back of the LIVA Q3 Plus is home to a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, capable of displaying 4K@60 Hz, and a mini DisplayPort 1.4 for display outputs. One can also locate the power jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port for those who prefer a hardwired internet connection. Lastly, the right side of the mini PC has a Kensington lock, a prudent choice given the device’s compact size. This site also includes an additional ventilation slot, which, combined with the one located on the opposite side, should be more than sufficient for cooling the LIVA Q3 Plus. After all, the device’s 15-watt TDP CPU is relatively low-powered, and the additional ventilation is an excellent feature to have.
However, this doesn’t mean that the Liva Q3 Plus isn’t a good investment. It’s important to note that the computer is designed to be a streamlined and efficient machine that can handle a wide range of computing tasks without the need for extensive upgrades.
Despite its limitations, the Liva Q3 Plus does offer some degree of expandability. The computer does have a microSD card slot, which allows you to add some additional storage to the system. While this may not be enough for power users who need massive amounts of storage, it’s a convenient option for those who need a little extra space.
The Liva Q3 Plus mini PC is a powerhouse of a computer, featuring a 14nm processor with 4 Zen architecture-based cores and active SMT, which allows it to offer an impressive 8 threads. This means that the computer can handle multiple tasks simultaneously with ease, making it a great choice for those who need to multitask regularly.
The CPU operates at a base frequency of 2.10 GHz, which is already quite impressive, but it can also accelerate up to 3.6 GHz in single-thread mode. This means that the computer is capable of handling even the most demanding applications with ease, ensuring that you never have to worry about lag or delays.
In addition to the powerful CPU, the Liva Q3 Plus mini PC also features a Vega GPU that is clocked at a maximum of 1200 MHz. This GPU is capable of handling even the most graphics-intensive tasks, making it a great choice for gamers, video editors, and other professionals who require a high-performance graphics card.
One thing to note is that the Vega 8 GPU subtracts 1GB of RAM from the system memory (DDR4-2400), which means that the 8 GB of RAM that comes with the computer drops to about 6.94 GB. This is something to keep in mind when choosing applications and programs to run on the computer.
To keep the AMD APU cool, there is a small fan inside the Liva Q3 Plus. This fan helps to regulate the temperature of the computer, ensuring that it stays cool even during long periods of heavy use.
It’s important to note that the specifications indicated for the processor by AMD are generic, and the CPU may not always reach the advertised maximum frequency. In the case of our sample test model, the CPU never reaches 3.6 GHz, and the BIOS indicates that the minimum frequency is 1.6 GHz, while the maximum reaches 2 GHz. However, it’s worth noting that commercial product specifications may differ from our test model.
In addition to the impressive CPU and GPU, the Liva Q3 Plus mini PC also comes with 128GB eMMC storage, which is expandable via a micro SD slot up to 1TB. This provides ample space for storing all of your files and applications, ensuring that you never have to worry about running out of storage space.
60 FPS 4K
The ECS Liva Q3 Plus is a highly advanced and innovative mini PC that delivers exceptional performance when it comes to video playback. With the ability to handle 60 FPS and 4K video playback, this device sets a new benchmark in the world of palm-sized PCs. One of the key highlights of the ECS Liva Q3 Plus is its low power consumption, which is rated at 14-15 watts, making it an energy-efficient choice for users who are conscious of their energy usage.
The device also boasts a whisper-quiet volume of 40 dBm, making it the most silent palm-sized PC that has been put to the test. This feature is a significant advantage for those who require a quiet environment while working or gaming. Despite its quiet operation, there is still room for improvement as a fanless system would generate even less noise.
The Liva Q3 Plus boasts exceptional streaming performance, setting a new standard in the realm of ultra-tiny PCs. One standout feature that sets it apart from its counterparts is its support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), a technology that enhances visual depth and realism. This unique feature places the Q3 Plus in a league of its own as the sole ultra-tiny PC offering HDR capabilities.
Despite this imperfection, the Q3 Plus remains a commendable choice for users seeking top-notch streaming performance and the advantages of HDR in an ultra-tiny form factor. Its ability to flawlessly handle 4K video content at high frame rates demonstrates its capability as a powerful streaming device. However, it’s important to be aware of the limitations of HDR playback, acknowledging that the quality trade-off may be present when enjoying HDR-enabled content on this device.
With its rock-solid streaming performance, HDR support, and its dedication to providing a compact yet capable streaming solution, the Q3 Plus sets a new benchmark in the realm of ultra-tiny PCs. As technology continues to advance, it’s only a matter of time before these minor limitations in HDR streaming are further refined and improved upon, making for an even more seamless and immersive viewing experience for users of the Q3 Plus and similar devices.
The ECS Liva Q3 Plus, while offering several impressive features, does have one notable weakness – the absence of an M.2 storage slot. Unlike some of its competitors that incorporate modular drives, the Liva Q3 Plus relies on eMMC 5.1 for storage. This choice may not be ideal, as eMMC modules are not replaceable, much like the storage on your smartphone. What’s more concerning is that eMMC modules tend to have a higher failure rate when compared to more reliable SSDs.
Despite this drawback, it’s important to note that the storage module in the Liva Q3 Plus performs well in most everyday use cases. During my testing, I did not experience any significant delays or interruptions while loading applications or performing tasks. When considering the queue depth one results and benchmark scores, the storage module of the Liva Q3 Plus appears to use higher-quality NAND flash memory, which contributes to its relatively faster performance within the eMMC category.
To summarize, the storage performance of the ECS Liva Q3 Plus, considering its utilization of eMMC technology, can be considered commendable. However, it is essential to acknowledge that it still falls short in comparison to the superior performance provided by SATA or NVMe SSD storage drives.
PassMark, despite its imperfections, serves as a valuable tool for evaluating the performance of processors. While it may not provide an absolute measure of a processor’s capabilities, it does offer a useful perspective on how a particular processor fares concerning others in its class. In the case of the Q3 Plus, its performance can be roughly placed in the realm of midrange mobile processors, such as the modern Intel Core i5-8250U or Ryzen 5 2500U.
To put things into perspective, let’s consider the comparison between the Q3 Plus and NucBox, with the latter scoring a modest 700 on the PassMark benchmark. Surpassing NucBox’s score by over 2.5 times, the Q3 Plus demonstrates a significant leap in performance. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t necessarily translate to the Q3 Plus being two-and-a-half times faster in every task, but it does indicate a noteworthy disparity in overall performance capabilities.
Fan and Temperatures
During rigorous synthetic workloads utilizing Prime95, the Liva Q3 Plus undergoes a remarkable test of its cooling capabilities. Surpassing expectations, the temperature of this compact device never surpasses 70 degrees Celsius, maintaining optimal performance without the need for throttling the processor. While numerous mobile systems often sacrifice CPU performance to alleviate soaring temperatures, the Liva Q3 Plus stands out with its impressive heat sink and substantial fan, working harmoniously to ensure temperature control remains steadfast.
The advantages of the heat-sink fan extend far beyond mere temperature regulation. Remarkably, even under the most demanding workloads, this cooling system operates with a whisper-quiet demeanor. The Liva Q3 Plus, at its peak heat dissipation, emits a mere 43-44 dBm of noise, surpassing the near-silent operation of even the most hushed small form factor computers in the market.
One noteworthy feature of the Liva Q3 Plus is its fully adjustable fan speed, accessible through the BIOS. This level of control empowers users to customize their cooling preferences according to their specific needs. While the default settings strike an ideal balance between noise production and cooling efficiency, enthusiasts have the flexibility to fine-tune the fan speed to their liking. Even at its most robust operation, dissipating up to 31.1 watts of power, the Liva Q3 Plus maintains a commendable noise level of 44 dBm.
Moreover, it’s worth highlighting the Liva Q3 Plus’ exemplary performance during 4K, 60Hz (non-HDR) playback. Operating at average power consumption, this extraordinary device generates a mere 40 dBm of audio output, akin to a gentle murmur. Such a subtle volume output during intensive multimedia tasks further attests to the superior noise management of the Liva Q3 Plus, ensuring an immersive and distraction-free audiovisual experience.
The Liva Q3 Plus, despite its maximum average energy usage of approximately 31.1 watts, may not claim the title of the most power-efficient small computer on the market. In fact, when compared to its competitors, it surpasses them by utilizing more than double the power. However, it does hold its ground in terms of power consumption when pitted against a NUC mini-PC. So, if you’re searching for a computer that prioritizes energy conservation and operates as a green machine, it may be worth exploring alternative options.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the Liva Q3 Plus does exhibit some positive characteristics in its performance per watt ratio, and it boasts commendable numbers when it comes to idle and power-off power consumption. By enabling EuP (Energy Using Products) in its BIOS settings, the Q3 Plus manages to consume even less wattage than what conventional meters are capable of measuring. Furthermore, during an idle state, it maintains a reasonably low power consumption level of approximately 3.5 watts.
When the system is actively engaged, the wattage consumption increases to around 13-14 watts. This level is still within acceptable limits for most everyday tasks such as browsing the internet or performing low-resource activities. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Q3 Plus tends to consume around 2-3 watts more than an Intel Gemini Lake Refresh system when undertaking these tasks unless you’re involved in gaming or running video content with HDR (High Dynamic Range) enabled.
Therefore, while the Liva Q3 Plus may not reign supreme as the epitome of energy efficiency among small computers, it offers a satisfactory performance-to-power ratio and exhibits commendable energy consumption figures during idle periods and power-off states. However, for individuals seeking the most energy-conserving and eco-friendly computing solutions, it’s advisable to explore other available options in the market.
The Liva Q3 Plus is a small PC that has impressed many tech enthusiasts and for good reason. Despite the prevalence of USB 3.0 ports in small PC manufacturing, the Liva Q3 Plus has managed to eliminate the notorious USB 3.0 wireless interference bug that has been causing headaches for many users. This is undoubtedly good news, as this bug has been a significant nuisance for some time.
One may wonder why many manufacturers still use USB 3.0 ports, even with the interference issue. The answer to this lies in the fact that USB 3.0 ports have been around for a while, and many PC manufacturers are hesitant to switch to new ports, even if they have superior capabilities. However, it seems that the Liva Q3 Plus has decided to take the leap and upgrade to USB 3.2 ports, which is likely the reason why it has managed to avoid the wireless interference problem.
When it comes to performance per pound, the ECS Liva Q3 Plus emerges as the undisputed champion, leaving its competition in the dust. This compact yet powerful mini-PC from ECS exceeds all expectations by packing an impressive array of hardware into its small chassis. From the moment we started using the Liva Q3 Plus, it became clear that this system was designed to deliver a snappy and seamless user experience in a variety of environments.
One area where the Liva Q3 Plus truly shines is its cooling capability. The incorporation of an excellent cooling system, combined with top-of-the-line engineering, ensures that even during the most demanding tasks, the temperature remains well within safe limits. The inclusion of a solid copper piece on the top of the system further enhances its cooling performance, allowing it to handle heavy workloads without breaking a sweat. What’s even more remarkable is that despite the powerful cooling mechanism, the Liva Q3 Plus operates almost silently, maintaining a serene environment even during intensive usage.
Not only does the Liva Q3 Plus deliver exceptional performance, but it also boasts a sleek and stylish chassis design. The attention to detail in its aesthetics is evident, making it a visually appealing addition to any setup. In terms of connectivity options, this mini-PC doesn’t disappoint. It offers a generous selection of ports and interfaces, ensuring that users can easily connect their peripherals and devices without any hassle.
While our test unit came equipped with a modest 128GB of storage, it’s worth noting that the Liva Q3 Plus provides a clever solution to address potential space constraints. The inclusion of a microSD slot allows for the installation of a card with a capacity of up to 1TB, significantly expanding the storage possibilities. This thoughtful design choice ensures that users can store and access their files with ease, alleviating any concerns about limited storage space.
When it comes to multimedia capabilities, the Liva Q3 Plus is a true performer. It effortlessly handles the playback of 4K video files, delivering stunning visuals and a captivating viewing experience. However, in the realm of newer and more demanding games, the Liva Q3 Plus faces some challenges. Its Vega 8 integrated graphics provide decent performance but can struggle with power constraints in resource-intensive games. That being said, for enthusiasts of older titles, the Liva Q3 Plus will run them flawlessly, allowing users to enjoy their favorite classic games without any compromise.
In conclusion, the ECS Liva Q3 Plus stands as a testament to the power of compact computing. With its exceptional performance, efficient cooling, sleek design, ample connectivity options, and multimedia capabilities, it offers a complete package for users seeking a high-quality mini-PC. Whether you’re a professional looking for a reliable workstation or a multimedia enthusiast wanting a versatile entertainment hub, the Liva Q3 Plus is undoubtedly a worthy contender that surpasses its competitors in both performance and value.